Some of you might remember that I happen to attend a Chinese church, made up primarily of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants as well as some Chinese Americans, although I am not at all Chinese or Chinese American. Yesterday my pastor and his wife were kind enough to meet with me after church to talk about my spiritual wellbeing. I have been struggling a lot with worry and feeling unworthy. As we closed, my pastor said, “Chelsea, I see you as a worrier.”
To that I exclaimed, “Yes! I believe it’s an ancestral curse.” I went on to name all the people in my family that are worriers too. My pastor’s wife looked at me confused, “Well, a warrior…”
“Wait! What?!? Warrior?” I asked.
The whole time my pastor, in his Chinese accent, had been saying “warrior” while I had been saying “worrier.” Needless to say we had a good, hard laugh.
Let’s face it, we all struggle with worry, even if we are warriors deep down. A warrior is not just someone who is involved in war. It is someone who is engaged, active, energetic, and persevering. If you are only a worrier without being a warrior, you will likely become tired, unfocused, and discourage. Perhaps eventually you will give up and give in.
In looking at the qualifications to be in the U.S. military, you must of certain height and weight, be able to pass a physical test, you must be young, you must be a citizen, etc. If we translate this into what qualifies you to be spiritual warrior, we could say the qualifications are spiritual fitness, a youthful/energetic attitude, and you must be a child of God.
Today I’m going to address spiritual fitness. Work off the “flab” of worry to become a persevering spiritual warrior.
STEP 1. Drop the weight. Just as you cannot enter the U.S. military if you are obese and out of shape, you cannot run the good race carrying around the things that hold you back from growing in God. These may not be particularly sinful things, but just unneeded distractions from His plan. Perhaps you are like me. I sometimes get sucked into the black hole of the Internet, and end up surfing for hours. Or perhaps you need to trust God with the things that worry you, and lay them at His feet. As my friend says, “Let go and let God.”
STEP 2. Look to those who have already completed the race well. The old adage “if they can do it, I can do it” says it all. We all came from a life of sin. Some will overcome, and some will not. Let us be inspired by those who have overcome and be motivated by their success.
3. Fix your eyes on Jesus. I hate running and exercising so much that sometimes I will picture some kind of reward at the end, like a big hamburger…I’m probably not going to be joining the U.S. military anytime soon. If we fix our eyes on our end destination, then we can overcome many obstacles. He is not only our destination, but our companion, encourager, and example for the race. Imagine running alongside a perfect runner who encourages you, and even though they have the physical ability to run much faster, they choose to run at your pace in order to keep you company and push you toward victory.
One way you can exercise these three points is to pray, study, and fellowship with other believers as well as God. Prayer is like fixing your eyes on Jesus. When you have meaningful conversation with someone, do you look the other way? No, you fix your eyes on their eyes. You feel what they feel. Bible study will help you recall those who have finished the race well. In difficult times you can reflect on Daniel in the lion’s den, Joseph sold into slavery, David facing the towering Goliath, and so many more. And when you fellowship with trusted believers you will take time, resources, and mind-space away from whatever extra weight you are carrying.
I hope that today you will have the courage to step out in faith, even if it means just opening your Bible. Every time we do that we can expect to meet opposition from the enemy, so be prepared to use your newfound warrior skills to fight back in the spiritual warfare we face daily.
The 3 main bullet points were adapted from a sermon by Dr. Paul Nyquist of Moody Bible Institute given at BASS Convention on 3/7/2015.